Anonymous Social NGL has surpassed 15 million installs and $2.4 million in revenue as users complain about scams.

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A popular anonymous social app called LNG has now surpassed 15 million global installs, according to new figures from App Intelligence. sensor towerreleased today. An application that is now one of the few unregulated and potentially problematic anonymous apps for teenagers, has been climbing the charts rapidly since its launch in December 2021. But while NGL is now in the top 10 on the US App Store, much of its current growth is driven by Android users in markets like India and Indonesia, data from Sensor Tower reveals.

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Emerging markets can help push new apps like NGL onto the charts, where they get even more consumer attention. But in the case of NGL and others, there are reasons to be concerned about its rapid adoption. The app and some of its competitors have been accused of using bots to attract users.

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This is a problem because the app promises “anonymous” social interactions in the form of questions and answers from online friends and then monetizes by offering “hints” as to who sent you those messages, allowing it to attract millions. In other words, both the App Store and Google Play, as well as the app developer himself, appear to be profiting from an illegal operation that tricks people into thinking their friends are asking questions when some of the questions are actually automated.

When TechCrunch recently tested NGL and its rival Sendit., we copied the short links provided to an Instagram story that was only active for a moment before we deleted it. This made the apps think that we are now waiting for anonymous questions from our friends. A few hours later, questions appeared in the respective app inboxes, presumably from our friends who saw our link. But no one actually saw our link as it was never long enough for anyone to click on it, let alone the half dozen people who supposedly message us, according to NGL.

From these tests, it’s clear that NGL is trying to mislead users, and reviews in low-rated app stores are full of complaints about the use of bots.

US Keyword Analysis finds reviews with links to words like “bot” or “bots”, “fake messages”, “fake questions”, “scam” and other terms related to app tricks or how the user “spent” ten dollars to get clues about who asked the questions. The app’s five-star reviews, meanwhile, seem rather suspicious, with many repeating the same phrase: “very good.”

Image credits: NGL App Reviews via Sensor Tower

NGL charges users $9.99 per week for a subscription that provides unlimited hints about who submitted the questions you receive. Tooltips are also useless, users say in reviews, as they only offer general information such as location and device model. To date, Sensor Tower reports that NGL users have spent about $2.4 million on the app. The company noted that the $9.99 unlimited hints subscription was the most popular in-app purchase, followed by the $1.99/week unlimited hints option.

Despite these issues, the app continues to gain momentum. NGL now has more installs on Google Play than on the App Store, with approximately 6.5 million downloads for Android in June compared to 4.4 million for iOS.

Indonesia is NGL’s largest market to date, accounting for roughly a fifth of NGL’s all-time installs, or about 3.1 million installs, 83% of which is from Google Play, according to Sensor Tower. The US is the app’s second largest market by installs, accounting for nearly a fifth of all-time installs, or about 3 million installs. India accounts for about 10% of total installations with approximately 1.5 million.

So far this month, NGL’s growth trend has continued, with an additional 4.6 million installs (2.7 million on Android and 1.9 million on iOS) as of July 10. This is 107 times more than 43,000 app installs. during the first 10 days of June, but this is a 41% decrease from the previous 10-day period (June 21-30) when the app was installed 7.8 million times. This indicates that the adoption rate may be somewhat normalized after the spike at the end of June, but for the time being, the application continues to grow steadily.

It’s not clear why the app stores didn’t take action against this app and its competitors, given how trivial it was to trick this app and its competitors into sending us fake questions. At the very least, when an app reaches the top of the app store, it deserves more scrutiny.

NGL has not commented on the new data or user complaints at this time.

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